Having raised £353,296, Venomtech are sinking their teeth into the development of new, high value medicines – literally.
It began in the back room of a pet shop in Ramsgate. For years the pharmaceutical industry struggled to find new drug candidates using standard chemical libraries. Then, in 2010, Steven Trim founded Venomtech to help solve that problem.
There are properties in venoms that can be used in the development of medicines. Tarantula venom, for example, reduces pain by blocking off activity in the nerve cells. Perhaps most excitingly, the Death Stalker scorpion’s venom is a valuable tool for curing cancer. It was on this account that one of Venomtech’s own scorpions recently starred in BBC4’s documentary ‘Pain, Pus & Poison: The search for modern medicine’.
Friends of these slimy/hairy lifesavers shouldn’t worry: Venomtech are known for their welfare standards (they’ve won awards for it), and never experiment on their guests, all of whom come from captive-bred stock. Venom extraction is performed naturally under anaesthetic, after which the animals will awaken stress-free in their award-winning invertebrate housing.
Where are they now?
These days, Venomtech can be found in the old Pfizer site in Sandwich, Kent. They’re the only commercial venom lab in the UK, but their reach stretches beyond our British borders: in only their first year, 75% of their sales went to mainland Europe. There have also been talks with global players in skin care cosmetics – an industry worth over $100 billion – and plans to launch several breakthrough products in the next 2-3 years.
With the funds raised through SyndicateRoom (including investments from business angels including Chas Howes and Professor Karol Sikora), Venomtech will continue to expand. This entails purchasing new equipment, expanding their experienced teams, increasing its manufacturing capacity and driving sales.
In autumn 2015, Venomtech informed us that it had designed and developed an active venom peptide for cosmetic applications. The product is expected to launch towards the end of 2016, with Venomtech receiving 5% of the royalties per year.
Venomtech was featured on Sky News in May 2016. You can watch the report here.